Consultant Journeys

My two-pence on recruitment as a first job

Jamie Vear-Altog

Managing Consultant

Jul 20, 2022

Recruitment, in my eyes, may be considered one of the best first jobs any person can have. Some people are fortunate enough to know what career path they would like to follow from an early age, but this is not the case for the majority.

The first job can have multiple meanings; first real, salaried job or your first job in a new discipline/industry. It has no age or time restrictions, just a new beginning. No matter where your thoughts are guiding you, here is my two-pence on recruitment as a first job…

‘Testing the water’

You’ve just graduated but really university was a ‘rite of passage.’ You have no idea what you want to do but a few things sound cool.

You’ve been working for a few years, but have only really semi-invested yourself, stunting your development. Loathing coming into work each day because you’re not actually interested in it, you’ve just conveniently fallen into a career.

You know exactly what you want to do and where you want to go, but… how do you get there?

I’m sure at least one of the above will resonate with the majority of you. The truth of the matter is, there’s no better place to test the water of industry, than in recruitment. You will be working with people who have a range of experience within the field you may perhaps want to work in one day, and you will have the opportunity to discuss, ask or converse about anything you want with them.

At the other end of the spectrum, if you know exactly what you want and always have done, the age-old saying still goes – “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” To some degree, this still applies, and I’m telling you from first-hand experience as a BA Geography graduate – where you can become a teacher, go traveling or continue on to a post-graduate (Yes, I know I’m generalising the degree but just go with me…) From my experience as a Town Planning recruitment consultant, I have been offered work experience, internships and graduate roles with post-graduate sponsorship. And I know I’m not the only one.

“Yeah yeah, I hear that. What did you say again?”

I get it, most people don’t grow up wanting to be a recruiter, and over 90% of recruiters never did (research not conducted but I guarantee you’ll find this to be true). Although whether or not your dream role involves creating leads to find the ‘one’ (job or candidate), the core crux of what we do – communicating – is arguably one of the most important skills in the 21st Century.

A WSJ study surveyed over 900 executives; 92% reported that soft skills, including communication, are as important as technical skills. Over the course of your career in recruitment, you will speak to hundreds, maybe thousands, of people. You will also meet with hundreds of individuals, both job seekers and those seeking employees.

All of these people will come from different backgrounds and be blessed with different personalities. As a recruiter, you will hold the responsibility for representing both parties. The ability to ask the right questions and effectively convey a message in person, via email, or on the phone is vital in this role but is also transferrable to every aspect of life.

And the key to doing this… to listen. We naturally start to understand what the other person is saying or trying to say by listening to their words, body language, eye contact, and voice inflections. A conversation is a two-way street and listening with intent not only allows scope for great chat, it also fosters strong relationships.

“So, there’s this job in Florida…”

Whether you’re interviewing for a new job, deciding on what carpet to have in the living room, choosing the location of the next family getaway or discussing a relocation because you’ve seen a job for a Scuba Diving Pizza Delivery Man (it’s a real thing; we can pause here whilst you Google )… you’re pitching.

Pitching an idea well is a highly valuable commodity, not only in the world of business, and again, you have the opportunity to practice this in a recruitment job every day.

“Wah, wah, waaah”

Okay, life isn’t always fair – the pitching goes wrong. You didn’t get the job; you’ve been vetoed and your living room is looking like a split bag of skittles; the other half manages to convince you to stay put…

Recruitment roles teach you to develop the power of resilience. Resilience is key in any career path you may choose to follow. Floods of fallen leads and opportunities are bound to come your way, consistent No’s or, Sorry I’m not looking, can be a lot of rejection to handle, but in recruitment you learn to accept that opportunity is just around the corner. You learn to keep knocking. And this in turn develops strength and a positive outlook – valuable skills in both professional and personal life. Seeing a common theme here?

All in all…

Truth be told, the list goes on; goal setting, organisation, managing expectations, personal branding, emotional intelligence, maturity, and proactivity to name a few.

Whilst it shouldn’t go unnoticed that every coin has two sides, I wanted to provide a personal account of how beneficial recruitment can be no matter what you’re doing. Many people float between jobs, developing different skill sets, but sometimes compiling those softer skills into one avenue of work can be hard to come by.

Where better to try your hand at developing skills which can be exercised in both personal and professional life than one place that comfortably encompasses them all?

Just some food for thought…

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Managing Consultant

Jamie Vear-Altog

Jamie brings over six years of recruitment experience to the table. Having started out at Oyster on the Town Planning team, Jamie then moved across and started a new team for Oyster, Engineering. Spanning Highways, Transport and Infrastructure, the Engineering team has very quickly become the go-to recruitment team in the industry, and that’s mostly down to Jamie’s quiet perseverance and determination. He’s not a man who’s easily swayed.

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